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UCLA Staves Off Utah in 34-27 Win


It certainly wasn’t easy, but the 12th-ranked UCLA Bruins improved to 4-0 on the season with a 34-27 road win over the Utah Utes on Thursday night behind an impressive performance by sophomore quarterback Brett Hundley and more than a few timely defensive plays.

After scoring the go-ahead touchdown with just over four minutes to play, the Bruins staved off the Utes on their final drive by intercepting Travis Wilson’s pass in Bruins territory, which ended up being the sixth pick he threw in the losing effort.

“The defense stepped up,” said UCLA running back Paul Perkins, who rushed for 92 yards on 16 carries, according to ESPN.com. “And the offense knew they were going to do their job.”

Hundley did his job and then some, as he not only threw for a touchdown, but ran for one and even caught one as well. Hundley had already displayed his versatile skill set in the team’s previous three games and actually fell short (albeit by just four yards) of reaching 300 total yards for the first time this season against the Utes.

Both quarterbacks were able to move their offenses down the field, but Wilson’s six interceptions proved to be the difference, as the Bruins were able to convert those miscues into 17 points.

“We just had way too many mental errors,” Wilson said. “Some balls were deflected, but ultimately it was my fault.”

With USC struggling, the defending Pac-12 South champions appear to be the odds-on favorite to repeat as division title-holders, but even the team they just defeated noted that there is still plenty of season left.

“They’re a good team. Could be the class of the South,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. “Time will tell.”

UCLA may be 4-0, but its toughest tests have yet to come. After the Bruins play Cal next week, they’ll play at Stanford and then at Oregon before taking on Washington and Arizona State in late November. Considering all four of those opponents are currently ranked in the top 25, it’s reasonable to assume that UCLA’s record won’t be unblemished as it reaches the finish line.

However, as long as UCLA does capture the South title, it will once again be one win away from a Pac-12 championship and a Rose Bowl berth. Is such a magical season in the cards for the Bruins? As Whittingham said, time will tell and Stanford and Oregon will likely have a say as the frontrunners for the North division title.

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